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Ex-VW boss 'did not know' of emissions cheat device

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The former chief executive of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, has said he did not know about the carmaker's emissions cheat until it became public.

His comments came as he faced a German parliamentary committee, which is looking into the issue.

The scandal first came to light in September 2015 when US regulators said the company had installed software to cheat emissions tests for diesel cars.

Mr Winterkorn resigned shortly after the scandal broke and apologised.

It emerged that the defeat device used by VW was installed in 11 million vehicles worldwide.

VW has said it did not learn of the problem with the software until late August 2015 and formally reported it to US authorities in early September.

Mr Winterkorn was asked when he and other top managers at Volkswagen found out about the diesel cheating and why they had not told investors sooner.

He said: "I, too, am looking for satisfactory answers." Mr Winterkorn added he did not know how many people were involved.

When asked whether he knew about the cheating earlier than VW has officially admitted, he replied: "That is not the case."

Earlier this month, Volkswagen admitted to US prosecutors that about 40 employees had deleted thousands of documents in an effort to hide systematic emissions cheating from regulators.

The scandal is costing it dear.

VW has been fined $4.3bn by US authorities and agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges.

In addition, the carmaker has agreed to a $15bn civil settlement with environmental authorities and car owners in the US.

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